Experimental Observation of the Effects of Translational and Rotational Electrode Misalignment on a Planar Linear Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer

  • Yuan Tian
  • Trevor K. Decker
  • Joshua S. McClellan
  • Qinghao Wu
  • Abraham De la Cruz
  • Aaron R. Hawkins
  • Daniel E. AustinEmail author
Research Article


The performance of miniaturized ion trap mass analyzers is limited, in part, by the accuracy with which electrodes can be fabricated and positioned relative to each other. Alignment of plates in a two-plate planar LIT is ideal to characterize misalignment effects, as it represents the simplest possible case, having only six degrees of freedom (DOF) (three translational and three rotational). High-precision motorized actuators were used to vary the alignment between the two ion trap plates in five DOFs—x, y, z, pitch, and yaw. A comparison between the experiment and previous simulations shows reasonable agreement. Pitch, or the degree to which the plates are parallel along the axial direction, has the largest and sharpest impact to resolving power, with resolving power dropping noticeably with pitch misalignment of a fraction of a degree. Lateral displacement (x) and yaw (rotation of one plate, but plates remain parallel) both have a strong impact on ion ejection efficiency, but little effect on resolving power. The effects of plate spacing (y-displacement) on both resolving power and ion ejection efficiency are attributable to higher-order terms in the trapping field. Varying the DC (axial) trapping potential can elucidate the effects where more misalignments in more than one DOF affect performance. Implications of these results for miniaturized ion traps are discussed.

Graphical Abstract


Linear ion trap (LIT) Geometry deviation Displacement Misalignment Degrees of freedom Mass resolution 


Funding Information

The authors are grateful for the financial support from the National Science Foundation (USA), Chemical Measurement and Imaging Program, award no. 1404886.


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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuan Tian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Trevor K. Decker
    • 3
  • Joshua S. McClellan
    • 3
  • Qinghao Wu
    • 1
  • Abraham De la Cruz
    • 1
  • Aaron R. Hawkins
    • 3
  • Daniel E. Austin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and Molecular EngineeringZhengzhou UniversityZhengzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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